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Britain Holds Local Elections Seen as Verdict on Blair


British voters are casting ballots Thursday in local and regional elections widely seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Tony Blair's decade in office.

Voters are choosing local councils in England and Scotland. Voters in Scotland and Wales are also choosing members of their national legislatures.

In Scotland, the pro-independence Scottish National Party has promised to hold a referendum on independence from Britain if it gains power.

Many analysts predict Britain's Labor Party will suffer significant losses Thursday, because of widespread opposition to Mr. Blair's support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and discontent over several domestic scandals implicating the ruling party.

Mr. Blair is Labor's longest-serving prime minister. He has said he will make a definitive statement next week on when he plans to leave office.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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